Kiss Seafood (SF) – Still Searching

Kiss has been on the to-do list ever since i first read about it on Chez Pim. There’s really no excuse for the wait – it was a 10 minute walk from my old apartment and it’s only a 30 minute walk from my new place. It was time to catch up w/ some friends and finally cross this off the to-do list.

I was pleasantly surprised by the interior – I pictured a slightly dark sliver of a bar somewhere in Japan-town. Instead, it’s quite a bright (yet tiny) cube. If you’re feeling claustrophobic, just hit the bathroom – it’s quite spacious in there.

Kiss is definitely no Urasawa but it does come at a 75% discount. The meal left me wanting – the ingredients, flavors, and execution. Nothing truly wow’d me – everything was just there – better than average but far from great. The upside is, at $60, I can afford to give it a few more opportunities.

1. Kiss Salad

Simple, refreshing, lightly marinated, a nice start. Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Kiss Salad

2. Kiss Appetizers

The salmon eggs were very light and delicate – probably my favorite of the night. The other two (marinated eggplant and some tofu / shiso thing) were standard. Ok to Very Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Appetizers

3. Sashimi Plate – Tai, Giant Clam, Squid, Hamachi, Toro, Sweet Shrimp

The first piece of toro was near snow white, slightly watery in taste, but still buttery and delicious. The second piece should not have been served. The sweet shrimp was indeed quite sweet. The tai was dry; the hamachi watery and tasteless. Ok to Very Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Sashimi Plate - Tai, Giant Clam, Squid, Hamachi, Toro, Sweet Shrimp

4. Salmon / Cabbage Tower w/ Radish

This just wasn’t that good. The fish was completely overcooked *and* it had a strange texture – that may have been intentional but it wasn’t for me. Not Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Salmon / Cabbage Tower w/ Radish

5. Chawanmushi w/ Clams

The clams were tasty, the custard was average (in my limited experience.) Ok.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Chawanmushi w/ Clams

6. Sushi Plate

The proportions were good, but the rice was cold. It also lacked the sweetness that Yasuda & Urasawa have. The fish quality was slightly better than average. Ok.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Sushi plate

7. Miso Soup

It is what it is. Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Miso soup

8. Melon

A very simple conclusion to the meal. Good.
Kiss (San Francisco) - Melon

I wanted it to be more. I will give it another shot since others seemed to have better meals than I; but frankly, this seems like a slightly better-than-average Japanese restaurant. We were at a table, and were the last people served, so that might explain the fish.

My friends often tell me to calm down and just enjoy the meal. But how can I? World-class city, insane amounts of money, huge Asian population, and still no acceptable sushi/sashimi spot (without driving an hour south to Fantasy Sushi.) Yes, Ino isn’t bad but the city can do better.

Sebo is next on the to-do list for a dependable fish spot in SF. There’s a prime opportunity for someone that can fill this niche.

- chuck

  • Val

    I would kill to have any kind of real sushi in my area.
    Your “mediocre” sushi is still light years ahead of mine. (Kansas City)